Last Dance

A common bond of loss
Reunion of two friends, 
Sharing what we did in our lives
Our new-found friendship grew.

We knew what was before us
We were not blind
Optimistic attitudes, nevertheless
This was our time.

A getaway from a re-constructing life
A world  just beginning to know, again
A welcome distraction, change at its best 
Fun, laughter, carefree adventure.

For him, a chance for another
To love and be loved
Not recognizing his desires of
Missing his Tammy, so. 

Seeing some of what our country has to offer
Beautiful mountains majesty
RV camping perhaps my favorite
As it reminded me of my camping youth.

He thinks I helped him through it all
Until I could no more
His family rallied to his side
Our memories safely in store.

What he may or may not have realized 
I do wonder, is how he guided me
To discover what is truly important to me
And, that is a treasure, for sure.

Frozen in time to the reality of this loss
Loved ones left to pick up the pieces
An awkward serene of silence around me
I write this poem in his honor. 

He is safely home now
Suffering has come to an end
So brave and noble his fight
His gallant battle lost.

I will miss my relentless friend
Forty-six years ago lost and recently found
I thank you, John for your last dance
A friendship to which I am forever bound.


College dance, circa 1975 (from my Mom’s scrap book.) John relocated to continue his studies in Alabama, I stayed local whereupon our lives took us to our professions, marriages and children.

Durags for all modeled here at Cleveland Clinic and at home. Also, Canal Side in Buffalo, Ohio car show, French Lick Resort in Indiana, Gatlinburg, Tennessee, we trooped around.

Beautiful, beautiful Smokey Mountains in Tennessee

a sample of John’s family gatherings where I was lovingly included these last few months

in the doorway of that darn camper I loved

Bedford, Indiana . . the last time I was to see John, just five days before writing this.

John was diagnosed with a very rare skin cancer called Angiosarcoma of the scalp. So rare, there is very little data on best practice treatment. John was treated at Cleveland Clinic as well as facilities closer to his home, would ask questions and many times those questions were left unanswered simply because of the rarity of this horrific disease. He underwent unheard of extensive surgeries, chemo rounds, radiation, immunotherapy and remained amazingly independent through it all up until his last 24 hours. A battle that was just short of ten months from diagnosis and, all that just a year after he lost his wife to brain cancer, he endured. Never wanting to ask for help, he was stubbornly optimistic. He passed away peacefully and comfortably surrounded by his family. We will all miss his zest for life.

Rest in peace, my good friend. 9/25/55 – 3/17/22

He asked me if I would be writing about him, here. I guess now he knows.

12 responses to “Last Dance”

  1. Holly, my last contact with John was on Sunday. He told me how much your support had meant to him these last few months. He was very optimistic during the entire process of all the medical procedures he had to endure. He was such a great man and a neighbor who was more like family to my husband and me for several years. Thoughts and prayers for you and his family.


    • Judy, This is such an amazing comment. You are his neighbor? I wonder on which side . . . Thank you so much for letting me know this. His sister, Roni and I left that Sunday morning at daybreak. We both thought how great he looked and told him but it was a most tearful goodbye as we all knew it would be our final goodbye.


  2. Oh my dear Holly,
    I am so sorry for your loss. Such sadness.
    This is a wonderful tribute to your friend.
    Keep well
    Big hugs


  3. Oh dear Holly,
    So much honesty and love in your writing. I am so very sorry for the loss of your friend…what a wonderful tribute to him.
    I pray for peace for you.
    Big hugs.
    Keep well.


    • Thank you so much Pat for your kind words. I know you know loss both personally and professionally. Writing helps me to cope. And, I’m beginning to realize with this senior age, coping with loss is a skill to have.


  4. Holly, this is an amazing tribute to John. It is apparent you wrote it from your heart and soul. I wish we had been able to meet you. John’s perseverance was a result of your support. Thank you for sharing the pictures!


    • Oh, that is so kind of you to say. I hope I helped him even a little during these last difficult months of his life. Thank you so much for saying so.


  5. Oh, Holly, so sorry for your loss. You have been through so much over the past few years. Thanks for sharing such a touching tribute of a special person in your life. Thinking of you at this time and take care of yourself.


    • Knitdreamin, thank you. So many in our world are grieving. I am actually beginning to feel a bit better. John and I knew of his health whether that is/was a good thing or not. But, it is always emotional when we lose someone close to us, for sure.


  6. I’m so sorry for the loss of your friend, Holly! Wonderful that the two of you were able to reconnect and enjoy a special friendship. So sad that we lose those way to early.


    • Marsha, I feel a bit numb, yet. Even with our eyes wide open, the reality comes and it is still shocking. He was young, as you say, so I am saddened by that. I will be fine. Right now I am thinking about his family and sending along hope that memories will help heal their grieving hearts. Thank you for your thoughts.


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